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The life of a person is a series of transitions from birth, puberty, marriage, parenthood, retirement and death. Each transition requires a separation of some sort to move onto the next phase of life. Most transformational transitions are celebrated with the community a person belongs to. Religion has played a big part in these rites, but as our society has become global, most are moving away from religious traditions - especially in the rite of marriage.
My profession as a wedding officiant and ordained minister is to create a wedding ceremony that takes into consideration that what once was familiar to society is not very clear today. Most couples are confused in what to include that will honor their diverse backgrounds and traditions. When I develop a wedding ceremony, I take into consideration this change. The beauty of tradition is the familiar, and the security of what many generations have passed down. The familiar helps us feel connected to our community but often does not feel familiar to the couple getting married. This globalization of our society forces society to create new traditions and rituals so we can continue to feel connected. This is why Ritual is so important in a wedding ceremony - to help bridge the gap of tradition to our modern day life.
This is a Native American tradition but can easily be reconstructed to create an idea of your own. When I think of a blanket in general it gives me a warm, cozy feeling. Several ideas come to my mind about using a blanket. Each person might have a special blanket that they have had for years that gave them comfort. Perhaps each of the couple's parents could walk down holding the blankets symbolizing their love for their children. During the unity ritual, each parent can wrap each child with the blanket and then the couple would take them off as a symbol of honoring and thanking the parents for their love and support over the years (certain wording would be used here by the officiant). Then the parents or the couple can have a new blanket that would be wrapped around them to symbolize bringing each other comfort and love (so many options here!).
The Blanket can then be displayed in their home as a reminder of the comfort they bring to each other. Maybe when they have a rough spot they can wrap each other in the blanket. This blanket then becomes an heirloom that can be passed down to other generations.
This “Blanket Ceremony” is strengthening because the couple is reminded that they are not alone in their struggles or triumphs but are now surrounded by their new global community.
Article written by Debbie Belaus of Bright Path Ceremonies.
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